Flutter 2.0 Announced and It's About to Change Design & Dev as We Know It

March 03, 2021

If you haven’t heard yet Flutter 2.0 has been both announced and released. If you want to see everything that’s been added there is a great article from the Flutter team. With this blog post I just wanted to share my thoughts on what they’ve announced and the future vision they are casting for it. The headline announcement is that they are not adding 1 platform to stable but 4…yes in one major release they are adding 4 supported platform targets for your apps. These platforms include Web, Linux, macOS, and Windows. This means with one single code base in one Github repo you can build a Flutter app that runs on nearly any device you can think of. That is a really big deal.

Until now, if you wanted to make an app you had to start by picking the platform it will run on and it was a bit of a dilemma. If you chose Web then you are in a lot of ways supporting any device but users do prefer native apps for certain types of tasks/apps. Not to mention smartphone apps have access to some specific API’s and features that the web does not. That gap is shrinking year after year but it is still present. In a lot of ways I’m biased to the web because I do believe it’s the ultimate platform in terms of scalability, ease-of-access, and reachability. However, mobile and desktop apps have their rightful place in the app ecosystem.

The other side of the dilemma is if you want to support multiple platforms your development costs increase exponentially. Now instead of paying a dev to build an app you have to pay another dev or the same dev to build it twice. Example? Look at the booming social media app Clubhouse. They chose to support iOS at launch and now they are missing out on the largest app ecosystem platform in terms of user base by not supporting Android.

Today, March 3rd of 2021, the Flutter team at Google just removed this dilemma entirely. Poof. Gone. No more debates at the coffee shop when you are planning your startup launch. With Flutter, you don’t have to debate the platform you are going to support you only have to worry about the app you want to build. If you see what I’m getting at I’m introducing the proposition that Flutter has now made itself the default way to build an app from scratch. Unless you are an edge-case there is no reason to not use Flutter to build your startup’s app.

So that’s the massive change on the development side you might ask “what about the design portion you mentioned?” On the design side of things if you watch Flutter speed code videos like the one I made (shameless plug) or others on YouTube you’ll see that these apps are being created from a reference design in near real time. This is an insane productivity and efficiency improvement for designers! 🤯 It basically means a designer can skip the prototype phase because they could build the real app with that time instead.

Don’t get me wrong UI/UX design mockups are still important but why make a prototype if you could sit down with a Flutter dev to make an interactive app that actually works on a device? This kind of speed improvement in having a beautiful, native and/or web app is groundbreaking. Imagine having an MVP in nearly the same amount of time it would have taken to build a prototype in InVision? That’s a big deal because you could ship it to test users as a web app, not a prototype.

As you can see I’m super excited about the future of Flutter and what it means for the industry I’ve found myself in. If you are as excited as me then don’t hesitate to reach out on social and share what you’re building. The Flutter community is growing rapidly around the world and I’m thankful to be apart of something so big as it’s just gaining the attention it deserves. 🙌

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